Ether War is a quick, fun spaceshooter hosted on Kongregate. If you’re a fan of Bubble Tanks, or any Flash spawns of Atari’s Asteroids, this game is for you. Sporting a simple control mechanism and a worthwhile upgrade system, Ether War is a fun way to spend half an hour.
The game is set in a nondescript futuristic setting, where Earth’s space colony is attacked by the Sun (which looks much smaller than the actual Sun). The sun slowly orbits around your colony, maintaining a density of attack spheres around itself; you must shoot the spheres before they swarm your colony. If the swarm grows too strong, your colony will be damaged, and eventually you will lose.
Controlling your ship is conventionally simple: Fly with the arrow keys, aim and shoot with the mouse. As you play, you collect Ether – the game’s currency. Purchase upgrades for your ship and for the friendly AI ships assisting you. These upgrades will allow you to fight off the swarms more effectively, and will enable you to attack stronger/faster enemies. Ether War’s simple control scheme accentuates the need for these upgrades, forming an impressive level progression.
Learning how to play is simple, but the game is fairly challenging in the beginning stages. Ether War starts the fight on your home turf. As your ship increases in power, the fight moves farther away from your colony into enemy territory. This makes sense from a storytelling standpoint; in practice, this causes the first fight to be the most difficult fight in the game.
Other than the first stage, the developer has successfully balanced the gameplay by upgrading the enemy’s spheres over time, and by positioning stronger spheres closer to the sun. By the end of the game, your ship will be taking out the spheres you were running away from when you started. It’s a great concept that’s been subtly implemented into the core gameplay.